If you have watched the show Smallville or kept up with the origins of Superman at all, my hometown looks a lot like Clark Kent’s old stomping grounds. Corn. There was corn everywhere. The closest thing we had to adventure was speeding up and down the main highway in town. That is how boring a small town in Illinois is.
Growing up, I looked up to superheroes like Batman (come to find out later in life that I am Batman), Wolverine, Spider-Man and the whole gamut of Marvel’s line-up really. I was the kind of guy that hated violence, bullies and cherry licorice but loved Nintendo, my parents and sweet tea.
Speaking of family, I love my family dearly. I hung out with every member of my family on a weekly basis. I was like a traveling jester but a whole lot cuter. I was the Justin Beiber of jokes in my family. I really enjoyed hanging out with my grandparents. They were so wise and loving but were also people of faith. They constantly told me about Jesus and how there is a God.
So I thought, “Okay, cool. I just try to be a good person and God will love me”. As life went on, I realized I had built a checklist of do’s & don’ts that I was failing miserably to put checks next to each do. So I got tired of it and abandoned it.
I never really did anything too insane. I was always home by curfew, cussed a few times and stayed away from drugs. I was the posterchild for the school except I was a big nerd. If you saw how Peter Parker got picked on in the Spider-Man movies/comics, that was me. So, I didn’t consider myself too bad.
That’s when a friend from school asked how my “walk” was. Not understanding what they meant, I said I could walk fine and asked them if they wanted to go on one. They began to explain what they meant. As I pleaded not guilty to my lust, idolatry, deceitful heart, I began to realize what I was: a sinner. Okay, not that bad. Might even sound cool. Until I remembered from what little church I went to that sinners don’t fare well in the hands of God, at least ones who didn’t do something called “repent”. Realizing I needed a savior, I accepted Christ that night. Realizing I could never do enough good to merit my entrance into Heaven, I accepted Christ that night.
But then the church my grandparents went to got a new youth pastor and he was down determined to get me to come back to church. After about the 50th invitation I finally told him I would show up if he would shut up. I never really left the youth group after that during my middle/high school years and I helped volunteer in the youth group during college.
You see, my mentor was and still is like an Uncle Ben figure. He helped me learn different aspects of the Bible and the Christian world. And the more I spent time learning from him and helping out in the youth group, I began feeling the call to be a youth pastor.
Now, I’m at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, married the most amazing woman I have ever met in my life (because Texas women are awesome) and am currently working on my third year as a M. Div student.
Now you know a little bit about me. What’s your story?